Students soon able to rent paddle boards

by Avery Boulware, Campus Carrier News Editor

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Sophomore Eugenie Hale takes a new Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards for a spin around the Cage Center pool on Feb. 1. Students will be able to rent the boards starting in March.

Through funds provided by SGA, the Department of Recreation has purchased ten Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boards for students to rent at $10 per day.

The boards are inflatable and come with a pump, pressure gauge, five interchangable fins and a backpack in which to carry it all. The boards weigh 27 pounds and can support paddlers weighing up to 260 pounds. They will also be rented out with a paddle and personal flotation device (PFD).

Highfield and the Department of Recreation chose paddleboards after noticing a trend both across college campuses and in the world of recreation in general.

“We try to ask around and see what students are interested in having, as well as (looking at) current usage and what items are being rented,” Highfield said.

After deciding on any new equipment to buy, Highfield compares prices across outdoor supply companies and talks to outdoor recreation departments at other universities before proposing it to the deparment and to the dean of students.

While small purchases or repairs are paid for by the department, large purchases come from the SGA special projects fund, which is overseen by the SGA budget and finance committee.

“I think that’s great because it’s completely student-run,” Highfield said. “I can’t do anything unless the students want it.”

Senior Valerie DeWandel is the Vice President of Service for SGA and chairperson for the special projects committee. She and her committee ask students what kind of projects they want to see around campus.

“Special projects are supposed to be projects that students can use, not like lights or something,” DeWandel said. “Last year we voted on the bike repair stations that got put up.”

The Department of Recreation staff tested the boards on Wednesday in the Cage Center pool. Staff members took note of how buoyant the boards are, how to pump them up and if they are easily tipped over.

“We want our staff to be super aware of how to use and care for (the boards) before we take them out,” Highfield said.

The outdoor rec department will hold a demo day in the Cage Center pool on Wednesday, February 15 for students to try out the new boards for themselves. There will be a table in the Krannert Center the previous Monday and Tuesday for students to sign up for 15-minute slots. Students can walk in without signing up but may have to wait until a board is available.

“It’s important that people know how to use them, to care for them and transport them,” Highfield said. “We want them to last. They aren’t very fragile but they do need to be cared for properly.”

After the demo days, students will be able to rent the boards starting in March.

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